Say you're an elementary school music teacher singing Christmas carols, specifically "Deck the Halls," with your class and every time the lyric "don we now our gay apparel" comes up, the kids look at each other and giggle hysterically because the word "gay" is super funny to eight year olds. What do you do? Do you take control of your class like an experienced educator or do you, in an attempt to curb the outbursts, change the lyrics of a 150 year old song and replace the word "gay" with "bright"?
A Traverse City, Michigan elementary school music teacher made the wrong choice by going with the latter. This angered parents took to the school's Facebook page (comments have since been removed and posting disabled) saying "By taking the word 'gay' out of 'Deck the Halls,' you are making it a big deal. One word can have different meanings." Happily, the outrage did lead to the restoration of the lyric but I bet this particular music teacher will just side-step the tune from now on, which is pretty sad. Kids shouldn't be robbed of Deck the Halls, damn it.
Assistant superintendent Jane Mohr told a local news station, "The teacher made a poor decision and it should have never happened." The principal, Chris Parker also told reporters "There was a different way to handle that, and a different decision that could have been made".
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
This would have been a great time to teach kids that "gay" isn't a bad word, that it shouldn't be used as a derogatory term, or at least throw a synonym lesson in there. Teachers shouldn't re-write history (or music) to stifle childish behavior or get kids to settle down. They're kids. Of course they're immature.
But then, some of us never really grow out of it. I work in an office where guys travel to and from Djibouti frequently."Oh you just got back? How is Djibouti this time of year?"? And I giggle every time that T-Mobile holiday commercial comes on because I hear "...walking in an orgy wonderland" instead of 4G wonderland.
Kids may snicker at the word "gay" in a song, but it's only because they've been taught that it's taboo, which it really shouldn't be. Plus, there are plenty of other potentially offensive Christmas lyrics to make a stink about, like say, ditties that reference the slipping of roofies into your sweetie's drink a la "Baby, It's Cold Outside".
What do you think of the teacher's censorship? How do you think she should have handled the situation? Let us know in the comments section!